Author's Note: This is my first Mass Effect story. I had no real plan for this going in, just this scene stuck in my head until I finally sat down one night and wrote it just to get it out.
1: Phoebe Shepard
Phoebe always had a plan. One good plan. Kaidan was on the roof, and so was Udina. The plan was to talk Kaidan down, stop Udina, save the Councilors and, if she got the shot, take down Lang (and she REALLY hoped she'd get the shot). However, if that man somehow managed to put doubt in the Major's mind about her, she'd have to have a Plan B, which she did. She was actually sort of proud of this one. Usually plan B involved "shoot your way out of here" which really wasn't a good plan as Joker had informed her on many occasions.
But shooting her way out of this was NOT an option.
"If…if it comes down to a standoff and Kaidan doesn't back down, I'm going to put up a damage barrier around him and then throw him. Liara, you keep him down. Vega, take Udina out. Understood?" Phoebe Shepard asked.
"Got it boss," James said.
"You really think Kaidan won't believe us?" Liara asked.
Phe looked at her grimly. "He hasn't before. I…no, I can't say for certain that he trusts me."
"That's crazy, after all you've done –" Vega began but before she could defend her once-lover once more, the elevator approached.
"Jump," Phe commanded, leaping for the next shaft.
Before Vega and Liara could follow she dodged bullets. Yep, definitely good to have a plan B.
When the elevator stopped they forced their way down through it and exited. They raised their weapons and followed Kaidan. Much like she suspected, their escape vehicle was a no-go and her fellow Spectre turned to face them, his gun raised instantly.
Relief flooded her briefly to see that the council and Kaidan were still fine. Lang had not gotten to him yet. The elevator shut behind them as they exited and Liara locked it. Kaidan was alert, his eyes focused on Shepard. She kept her gaze steady, tried to remain calm. She'd managed to cure the Krogan genophage, talk a biotic cult into peace, and manage countless other hostage negotiations. She could do this. She had to do this.
"Shepard, what's going on?" Kaidan demanded. Underneath his note of calm Phe could hear the panic.
Udina turned to her, rage flitting before his eyes. She supposed it hadn't helped when she'd chosen Anderson over him all those years ago. Hard to say she regretted that decision now.
"She's working for Cereberus, blocking our exit. We have to get out of here!" Udina said.
Shepard ignored him.
"Kaidan, listen to me," Phe implored him.
"Put down your weapon first and maybe I'll listen," Kaidan said.
Phe hesitated, fighting the pursing of her lips belatedly. So, talking him down might be harder than she thought. He didn't trust her enough with a weapon to know she wasn't about to shoot anyone innocent. Vega looked at her and she shook her head slightly. No, don't put it down. Lang could be there any minute, and she wasn't going to risk the council if that happened.
"I can't do that Kaidan. Cereberus could be here any minute, you have to listen to me," Shepard said.
"She was with Cereberus once, she could still be with him," Udina pointed out helpfully.
Phe ignored him again. "Kaidan –"
"Put your weapon down," Kaidan said.
No, this wasn't going well at all, but if she dropped her weapon, it was a greenlight for plan B and she wasn't quite sure it was necessary, not yet.
"There are Cereberus agents behind us in that door, if you open it they will kill everyone here," she told Kaidan.
"Nonsense," Udina commented.
Tevos disagreed. The Council was finally seeing reason, seeing what Kaidan couldn't, that Shepard had only done everything she could in their best interests. She had never harmed an innocent when it could be avoided, she had never betrayed her morals. She was saving them from the Reapers and now from Cereberus.
Udina went to the door, seeing he was going to lose the battle if this played out much longer.
"I'm overriding the lock," he informed them.
"Shepard," Kaidan began. "Look at us. This can't end well. Just put the gun down."
Finally, Phe complied, throwing the gun to the ground. But he knew that it wasn't her only weapon, that she wasn't unarmed. She was a biotic, an adept. He didn't relax and Vega and Liara also refused to let go of their own firearms. Quickly as she could manage, Phe put up a shield around Kaidan and then threw him. But he was prepared for this, for her, and he fired his gun. The throw had messed with his aim, but not in her favor. Instead of shooting her between the eyes it hit firmly in the middle of her abdomen, the weak section of her armor.
She fell to the ground, pain hitting secondary to the shock. Shepard had been prepared for this, too, though she hadn't told her squad. There was always a possibility that he…that something would go wrong. Everything felt slow around her as she reached for her stomach, to assess the damage. She pulled her fingers away briefly. Blood. Lots of it. Yep. She pressed down on the wound as firmly as she could but she felt weak, her muscles slow to reply.
Her medi-gel was behind her and she tried to lift herself by her elbow, one hand still trying to stem the blood flow. Lot of good it would do her, there was still a bullet in there. She finally managed to prop herself up a bit as footsteps raced toward her and she fell back down.
Hectic. Everything was hectic. How many seconds had passed? There had been gunshots. Not enough to be Lang, right? Oh hell, she didn't know. This is why she didn't make Plan B's.
"Shepard," said the person kneeling above her. Kaidan. It was Kaidan.
"Trust me now?" she asked weakly.
"Shepard," Kaidan said, his voice choking up with emotion.
Phoebe felt her eyelids grow heavy, the pain had built up in an overwhelming wave and now all she felt was warm, and very very tired.
"Commander," Vega said, kneeling beside her.
Quickly he ripped through the torn piece of her armor and began applying medigel. Phoebe moaned as the pain sparked back. She wanted to tell him to stop, to let her sleep but some part of her held back seeming to realize that the pain meant life. At least a little bit more of it. Maybe just enough to say goodbye.
"Phe," Kaidan said. "I…I didn't want...Phe, I…hold on. Shepard, just…please."
There were other people now and she realized she was being lifted. Taken away. "Kaidan," she called.
He was there again, his face looked weird, blurry. She reached out to touch him, curious. Wet. Was he…crying? She blinked a few times and then coughed and began choking. Then he was gone.
2: Garrus Vakarian
Garrus was taking down some Cereberus agents casually from his vantage point in the Presidium. Of course, he'd wanted to go with Phoebe but Vega had been itching for action and Garrus did have the best aim. Perfect for taking out the targets wandering down below as he sat high above them.
Still, the radio silence was killing him. They'd been silent ever since Lang had showed up, too fearful of an insecure channel. Garrus aimed his sniper rifle again, trying not to think about it but was beaten to the punch by EDI, an overload thrown at the redheaded guard from somewhere down and to the left. And that was the last one. Damn.
"Everyone meet at the hospital commons. Hurry," said Vega's voice over the comm. Then silence.
"What's going on?" Joker asked.
Garrus froze. There was no reason for him to suspect…none but his gut. No, no. It could just be about Thane, and Kaidan had been somewhere around, and…No she had to be alright.
"Vega – " Garrus began, he had to ask.
"Quickly," he snapped once more.
3: Kaidan Alenko
Kaidan was covered in her blood. That's all he could really think. He was covered in her blood. It was on his shirt where he'd helped lift her onto the board. It was on his hands where he'd helped removed the outlying bits of her armor. It was on his cheek where she'd brushed her hand there.
He was going to be sick.
Kaidan Alenko, second human spectre, Major in the Alliance, skilled biotic, always-calm-Kaidan was going to get sick in the passenger-side seat of Officer Bailey's car. He buried his hands in his hair, putting his head between his knees.
She was dying. He'd shot her. He'd killed Commander Shepard. Phoebe. The woman he'd dutifully served for years, the person who had saved his life on Virmire, the girl he'd fallen madly in love with.
Trust me now?
He was doing his job! Udina was unarmed. That's all Kaidan knew. Udina was unarmed and Shepard was chasing them. No, Udina wasn't unarmed, he had an elevator full of Cereberus agents at his command, better than any simple rifle. But he couldn't have known that. Shepard had warned him. No. She'd understand why he did what he did. He was doing what was right, he was trying to do what was right. But she's dead. She's not dead!
How could this be happening? He'd been in the military, been in plenty of tough situations. He'd killed people before (she's not dead), he'd seen friends die, he'd been betrayed. Never shot a loyal friend. Never shot an innocent. She knew the risks!
No, it was no use arguing with himself. Everything was surreal enough. Life in the galaxy was ending, everything built to protect it was crumbling, and he'd shot the one person who had been trying to pull it all together, the person he'd loved more than his own life.
What have I done?
4: Garrus Vakarian
"She's dying," the doctor repeated.
Garrus couldn't breathe, couldn't speak. Shepard was dying. Now?
"Shepard is…dying?" Joker asked, the words sounding strange.
"She was injured, shot in the stomach," the doctor said. "Others are in there working on her now, but…it doesn't look good. She's lost a lot of blood. Internal damage….I'd…prepare for the worst."
Joker sat down heavily. EDI placed a hand on his shoulder as the doctor turned away.
Dying. Dying dying dying!
No. She couldn't be dying. Not like this, not now. No, they couldn't take her from him.
"Garrus?" EDI questioned.
Phoebe was dying.
"Who did this? Who did this?!" he asked, surprising himself.
"Lieutenant Vega did not give any details," EDI reminded helpfully.
"Who…when I find the person who did this I will…" Garrus began and stopped as he pictured all the different ways he would end their miserable life.
"Maybe you should…I don't know, sit down? Before you go into a murderous rampage? We're in a hospital. No one here to kill," Joker joked nervously.
Garrus took a deep breath, and shook his head. How.
"Liara," EDI said, dragging Garrus from his morose contemplation. "What happened?"
Liara looked hesitantly at Garrus. Vega was with her. "Is he…ok?"
"Not exactly," Joker replied.
"He seems to be taking Shepard's injury rather hard…"
Joker snorted, "To put it lightly."
"Is she…is Shepard really dying?" Joker asked.
Liara looked at him and Garrus could see the wetness in the Asari's eyes. That hit home, hard. Garrus sat heavily, shutting his eyes. Liara loved Phoebe, and that look…he'd seen that look when he'd informed the family of fallen officers of their loved one's death. He was losing her. This was real. After everything he'd been through he was losing her to Cereberus.
"It was bad," Vega said simply, sounding a little rattled. "I don't know if Lola's…I don't know how she'll handle this."
"Shepard, her name is Shepard," Garrus said irritated.
"What happened exactly?" Joker asked.
"It…" Liara said and hesitated, looking at Garrus once more.
"We got into a stand off," James informed them. "The council and Udina were trying to flee. Naturally their shuttle was blown to bits before they got there. Cereberus was on our heels, we locked the elevator. Udina wanted to open it. Stand off."
"With Udina?" Joker asked, confused. "He's not exactly…I don't know -"
"Kaidan Alenko was with them," Vega said.
There were a few moments of silence. "You mean Commander Shepard and Spectre Kaidan Alenko were in a stand off?" EDI asked.
"He…he didn't…?" Joker said, seeming to comprehend something Garrus couldn't yet wrap his mind around.
"Alenko?" Garrus asked. This made no sense. "He would never…"
Liara's face said otherwise. "Yes," she whispered.
"The plan was to get Kaidan out of the way if he wouldn't stand down. It...didn't go as planned. He got off one shot as she threw him, hit her dead on," Vega said.
"That little…" Joker swore quietly.
And then Kaidan arrived.
5: Phoebe Shepard
Her body was somewhere distant and she was trying to find it. A pain here, a feeling there, anything that would let her keep a hold of it awhile longer. All the while she was pushed herself to remember why she needed to fight so hard.
Reapers. Squad. Civilians. Children. Humanity. Galaxy.
Her thoughts started to get fuzzy and she had to try harder, her body was gone and her mind was going too…
Salarians. Assari. Turians. Humans.
Jenkins. Thane. Mordin. Ashley.
She felt as if she was finally digging into something, grabbing something solid.
Joker. EDI. Cortez. Jack. Zaeed. Kasumi. Jacob. Samara. Tali. Wrex. Miranda. Kaidan.
She could almost feel it, feel herself, scrabbling to hold on. She was almost there but she didn't know how much fight was left, how much longer…
That was it. She could feel it. In that minute she could remember what it felt like to move, to feel her hands grab, the weight of her clothes on her back, the smell of her own hair. She could feel her body, her life.
Garrus. Garrus. Garrus.
And she had to hold on to it. So she repeated his name as a mantra, to remind her to fight to remember the feeling of her toes, the way her chest rose and fell as she breathed.
6: Garrus Vakarian
Garrus didn't remember standing, he just knew that he was as soon as Kaidan began to approach them. The anger was still there, the strong sense of betrayal, but he knew he wouldn't try the multiple death scenarios he'd planned before discovering it was he who killed Sheppard.
How could he? He had loved her. He'd been there with her when this all began. How could he not know she would never work with Cereberus to destroy the Council she'd sacrificed human lives to save?
"You're right," Kaidan said.
Apparently he was speaking aloud.
Garrus looked away from him, there was nothing to say, and he just needed to get out of there. He stalked off in the direction of the critical wards, at first unthinking, but then purposefully. He needed to see her, he needed to see Shepard.
The hospital staff was too busy with the recent attack to tell him to turn back, to stop him as he turned and walked down different halls till he found her room. Clear glass was all that separated him from her but he wouldn't go in, not when they were still trying to save her. Doctors worked over her almost blocking his view. All he could see was a dark strand of hair lying over the edge of the table and a bloodied hand.
So he listened to the doctors talk with their medical jargon. He listened to their machines. And he heard it when the long beep started.
And kept going.
No. No. Please Shepard. Don't do this to me. Don't…
And stopped suddenly before forming a steady rhythm of beats. Flurried movement. Alive.
Garrus considered leaving then, she was live, barely. He ought to go back before the entire crew of the Normandy came looking for him.
"Garrus," she gasped, coughing.
He jerked his head back to look at her. The crew had quieted for a moment, enough for him to hear her whisper over and over again:
"Garrus, Garrus, Garrus…"
Before her voice broke off into steady breathing and the doctors went back to work.
Post Note: Thanks to everyone who has read and reviewed! I have decided to end the fic here has a one-shot (changed from my previously undecided state!). Hopefully I will post more Mass Effect stories soon.